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2016-2017 Activities

PRESIDENTS Annual Report

     2016-17 has been an active year for the Lower Altamaha Historical Society with a slate of highly-interesting lecture programs and field trips to sites of historical and ecological interest.

     In the past year, the LAHS has undertaken several projects that benefit both the organization and the community. One of these was the initiative by a group of LAHS members in February to conduct a cleaning of the Bessie M. Lewis plot at the Hopkins Cemetery in Crescent. Bessie Lewis was the McIntosh County historian for over 50 years. Her plot was in disarray largely because of years of inattention, plus Hurricane Matthew also left its mark.

     Several members of the Society have undertaken volunteer roles to assist Fort King George in beautification efforts on the Museum premises while others have made contributions toward enhancing the appearance of the grounds around the LAHS archives. Our archives area now looks better than it has in many years. New lights were installed at the entrance to the Museum to provide improved illumination on the walkway and parking lot.

    LAHS sponsored or co-sponsored two book signings for LAHS president Buddy Sullivan. The first, in February, was for the release of Buddy’s new book, A Low Country Diary: Bessie Mary Lewis and McIntosh County, Georgia. Then in March, in tandem with the Ashantilly Center, Buddy’s new book, Sapelo: People and Place on a Georgia Sea Island, was unveiled locally with a signing event at Ashantilly, with the book’s photographer Ben Galland showing a selection of his color images.

     Last spring, a number of members participated in an excellent field trip to the Cannon’s Point Preserve at St. Simons. The history, culture and ecology of the site were interpreted and an update given on the outstanding work the St. Simons Land Trust is doing to enhance the educational opportunities afforded by Cannon’s Point.

     Programmatically, we have had our usual outstanding group of monthly speakers in the past year. A review of the speakers follows:

     August 2016—Bill Giles, site superintendent at Hofwyl-Broadfield, gave a slide program displaying archival photographs from the early 20th century history of Hofwyl.

     September—Jesse Wuest, interpretive ranger at the Wormsloe historic site, discussed pirates of the Atlantic coast.

     October—Rebecca Fenwick, Historic Preservation Specialist for a Savannah architectural firm, provided an update of the historic resource study and survey she is coordinating for McIntosh County under the auspices of the county historic preservation commission.

     November—Sandy Jensen, education coordinator of the Coastal Georgia Historical Society gave an interesting talk about plans to rehabilitate the former Coast Guard Station at East Beach and convert it into a museum featuring World War II on the home-front.

     January 2017—Ashby Worley provided an interesting talk featuring her previous role as the Riverkeeper for the Satilla River in Camden County and ongoing conservation efforts on that unique waterway.

     February—Author Janisse Ray discussed her efforts to expand and reorganize the Tattnall County Archives, as well as her own research into the families and culture of southeast Georgia.

     March—LAHS member Jim Klippel provided a look at Auldbrass Plantation in South Carolina, featuring the architecture of Frank Lloyd Wright. This insight into an important site and its linkage with one of America’s best-known architects was most interesting! A number of our members will tour Auldbrass later this this year during its bi-annual open house.

     April—Christy Sherman of the Richmond hill Visitors and Convention Bureau gave a talk on that town’s efforts to promote its tourism and history as well as Richmond Hill’s unique connection with Henry and Clara Ford.

     May—Dominic Guadagnoli, shellfish program manager for DNR discussed efforts to restore and nurture the Georgia coast’s oyster habitat.

     June—Buddy Sullivan lectured on the history of north McIntosh County, with a slide program featuring Harris Neck, Sutherland’s Bluff, Shellman Bluff and Belvedere, among other sites.

 Buddy Sullivan
 LAHS President